LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS: A fish named chum
By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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But the saltwater salmon fishing story doesn’t end with silvers and kings.
There’s a salmon that fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist Ward Norden last year said combines “the brute strength of chinook with the speed of coho.”
With noble attributes such as those Norden bestowed, one might expect a more dignified name. But, no, it’s just chum.
Maybe it is a “Boy Named Sue” type of situation.
Anyway, Norden said anglers in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) have been seeing large chum recently on their sonars below the coho.
After the large summer run of chum, which cannot be retained, Norden expects a banner year for the fall run, which can be harvested in Area 9.
The chum should be bounteous and burly.
“If the recent summer chum run is any indication,” Norden said, “the fish in our fall chum run should be a couple pounds larger than usual as well, with many approaching 20 pounds.”
The rub is that catching chum isn’t easy.
First, they’ll fight like a boy named Sue.
“Chum salmon are the second-largest of our salmon and about 20 percent larger on average than coho,” Norden said.
“In my opinion, pound for pound, they are also the hardest fighting of our salmon or steelhead.”
Second, chum are erratic biters.
“A few have been caught and their stomachs are full of herring and squid,” Norden said.
“Sadly, no sports anglers have ever figured out a consistent way to catch chums out on open water. Some years it is bait, while other years it might be purple-color trolling squids.
“It is always worthwhile to slow troll a plug-cut herring through that layer of chums seen on the sonar, just in case.”
The salmon fishing on Hood Canal (Marine Area 12) expanded Wednesday.
The daily limit is still four salmon, but now anglers can retain two hatchery chinook as part of their four-salmon daily limit.
This updated fishery covers all of Area 12 — the waters south of the Hood Canal Bridge — except for Tarboo Bay, which is closed to salmon fishing through Dec. 31.
Razor clam digs
A six-day razor clam dig that begins today after marine toxin tests confirmed that the clams are safe to eat.
The dig runs from today through Tuesday, beginning after noon each day, on the following beaches. Evening low tides are listed.
■ Thursday: 6:15 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors.
■ Friday: 6:57 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.
■ Saturday: 7:38 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.
■ Sunday: 8:16 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.
■ Monday: 8:55 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.
■ Tuesday: 9:34 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Twin Harbors.
State coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres dress for the weather and start digging an hour or two before evening low tide.
And, if low tide occurs after sundown, Ayres said a lantern is better and spotting clams than a flashlight.
Sports Editor Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: October 16. 2013 6:22PM